Warner Bros. has confirmed that Susan Rovner, President of Warner Bros. Television, will be leaving the studio “to pursue new opportunities”. Those new opportunities consist of the top programming job at NBCUniversal, for which she had been in negotiations. Rovner’s last day at WBTV will be October 2. She announced her pending departure to the WBTV staff in a memo (you can read it below the post.)
“These last 22 years were extraordinary and I am filled with enormous gratitude,” Rovner said of her tenure at the indie studio.
Rovner engaged in exit conversations with Warner Bros. about two weeks ago after emerging as the leading candidate for the top NBCU post — overseeing all original entertainment programming for NBC, the cable entertainment networks and Peacock and reporting to Mark Lasarus.
Those talks weren’t easy — Rovner had a little over a year into her current contract and had been factoring heavily in the studio’s plans for the future as the heir apparent to Peter Roth, Warner Bros. TV Group President and Chief Content Officer, who has been tipped to succeed him when he is expected to retire at the end of his current contract in late 2021. Rovner leaving creates a gaping hole in those succession plans.
Rovner and fellow WBTV President Brett Paul, who oversees all major dealmaking, jointly have had day-to-day management of all scripted TV programming developed and produced by the studio, a total of more than 60 current original series, 60% of them for SVOD platforms/cable networks. Rovner has personally developed or overseen the development of 18 series that have reached the 100-episode milestone.
Prior to her current role, Rovner served as EVP, Development, at WBTV and Co-President of Warner Horizon Scripted Television. Before that, she was WBTV’s SVP of Drama Development, overseeing the development of some of the company’s most important and successful programs. Successful, long-running series developed by Rovner during her tenure running the drama department include Gossip Girl, The Mentalist, The Vampire Diaries, among others.
Rovner joined WBTV in 1998 as Director, Drama Development, and subsequently was promoted to VP, Drama Development, in 2001. During this time, she helped develop the long-running Cold Case, as well as The O.C. During her tenure with the company, she led the development of many of the Studio’s long-running hit series including Arrow, The Flash, Gossip Girl, The Mentalist, Riverdale, 2 Broke Girls, Supergirl and Blindspot.
Here is Rovner’s memo:
To My WBTV Family,
I first entered the halls of Warner Bros. Television back in 1998. I’m not sure I could have ever imagined all of the amazing series we would go on to create and produce, all of the incredible showrunners, producers and talent we would work with, and all of the friendships that would be made over these years. Together we have produced 1000s of episodes of television that have connected with audiences all over the world. Each and every one of you have inspired me and I am so proud of what we have accomplished together. These last 22 years were extraordinary and I am filled with enormous gratitude.
I wanted to share with all of you that my last day with WBTV will be October 2. I am excited to start a new chapter in my career and wish you all the very best. WBTV will always hold a special place in my heart.
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